Tuning an engine is an exact science. All reciprocating engines are the same, they come in different configurations and sizes but the theory of how they work is the same. However the bolt on bits that supply fuel & ignition that make the engine work is a different story. There are so many different systems out there that accomplish the same job but in many different and interesting ways. One person cannot intimately know it all, however a good solid knowledge of the basics of operation and diagnosis will go a long way to successfully being able to tune almost any vehicle. The only problem for the Tuner is that each system has its own specific method of adjustment.

Without an oscilliscope and exhaust analyser, it is still possible to static tune most older carburetted vehicles & some EFI to a satisfactory standard with only basic tools, however without the specialised equipment it takes a fair bit of extra time and not everything can be checked. So when static tuning does not produce the desired result then it is time to take it to a Tuning Specialist with the correct diagnostic equipment. Modern engines of today just about tune themselves with very sophisticated Engine Management Systems controlling everything except your foot on the pedal. The biggest challenge I had as an Engine Tuner was tuning vehicles that were incorrectly tampered with because the basics were not adhered to. My philosophy on tuning is never modify a component on an engine to try and make it run right. If a vehicle has been running well most of its life and now has developed a problem, then the idea is to fix the problem, not mask it by changing something else and that's where it all goes wrong for the inexperienced. Finding the true problem is a big challenge and that's what I loved about my job.

There's just something about hot cars that turns motor mechanics on, that's why we all get into the trade, I guess. My love still lies with old carburetted engines and this is what I will stick with. I will leave the new technology to the younger generation.

In this section I just want to talk about the equipment I used, general components and how stuff relates to tuning.